The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the Public Assistance Program has approved $11,979,526 to procure architecture and engineering services for medical facilities in the territory — more than $10 million of which will be utilized for the new Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center.
The remaining funds will be expended on the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute (CKCI) on St. Thomas and the Myrah Keating Smith Health Center (MKHC) on St. John, according to the Office of Disaster Recovery.
The Hospital Redevelopment Team comprised of the project management teams from the JFL and Roy Lester Schneider (RLS) hospitals and led Darryl Smalls, vice president of facilities management for Schneider Regional Medical Center (SRMC), released a proposal to solicit the architecture and engineering services for JFL and SRMC on May 8, O.D.R. said.
Water intrusion and wind damages caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 resulted in multiple damaged components severely impacting the operating capacity at each of the territory’s hospitals.
The Myrah Keating Smith Health Center, the only medical facility on the island of St. John, was rendered inoperable after it sustained storm damages as well. A temporary structure constructed in 2018 now sits adjacent to the abandoned building and is used to provide services to the islands’ residents.
The Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute also remains shuttered after the storms in 2017, making rebuilding critical as there is no other location providing oncology services in the territory.
“This is truly a crucial time for the healthcare industry in our Territory following the recent Hurricanes, Irma and Maria, and now the devastating impacts we are now experiencing with the COVID-19 Pandemic,” said Mr. Smalls. “These disasters have demonstrated the need to rebuild our medical facilities collaboratively to ensure the continuity of quality healthcare to the residents and visitors to the Virgin Islands.”
According to the O.D.R., work is being finalized on the temporary facility at the Juan Luis Hospital on St. Croix, and construction should be complete by August 2020. The JFL Project Team is simultaneously working on completing the temporary work while looking towards a more permanent facility.
“The publishing of the RFP is another step in the right direction for the future of JFL. We are eager to begin the construction of the community’s new hospital and the creation of positive economic development on the island of St. Croix," said Dyma Williams, JFL acting CEO. "We look forward to hearing from the community during this design process of the new JFL, the community’s hospital.”
The O.D.R. said the selection of a firm to complete the design is the first step to begin rebuilding health care facilities and the system of care in the territory.
“The reconstruction of the territory’s hospitals remains a top priority,” O.D.R. Director Williams-Octalien said. “Building a resilient healthcare system will encourage more confidence in the quality of care offered in the territory.”
Final bids for the proposal are due on Friday, July 17, 2020. For information on this and other disaster recovery solicitations, go here.